Should 28 Mph E-Bikes Be Able to Ride Everywhere a Bicycle Does?

Video Transcription:

Hey, it's Jim Dodson, The Florida Bike Guy. So, do you really think that 28 mile per hour e-bikes are a good idea? You know, I give the legislature an A for effort they've incorporated the People for Bikes' three classification categories for e-bikes. Personally, I'm not aware of why we need 28 mile per hour e-bikes. I think they probably play a good role for the commuting cyclist, somebody who is riding 15, 18, 20 miles to work every day. But, I think from a practical standpoint, we touched on it in a recent live stream we did about riding on sidewalks. We got a huge response to that, and I appreciate everybody joining in. A lot of people just don't think 28 mile per hour e-bikes or e-bikes in general need to be on sidewalks. So, I think if you feel that way, get involved in your local community to get the ordinance drafted that you think you can live with because there's room for that into the legislative proposal.

So, but what about 28 mph e-bikes in general? I'm thinking, you know, if I'm on the road rarely do I get passed by a cyclist doing 28 mph. I mean, I know they're out there but I think the biggest concern is that someone who is not an experienced cyclist. Someone who is not a 28 mph rider gets a hold of an e-bike and is riding at that stage, whether they're on the road with you passing you while you're in the bike lane or on the road. But more importantly, I think that they, it puts them in some places where people are just not prepared to deal with the consequences of that type of speed.

In my own practice, I know that many times riding fast can have an impact on drivers. They're just not aware. They're not experienced dealing with a cyclist closing in on them, whether they're past the cyclist and then wait to turn right and the cyclist is suddenly right beside them again or approaching from the opposite direction. They're not used to judging cyclists doing 25, 28 miles per hour. I think from a practical standpoint, there's some issues with that but largely I think that we have to think about it from our club level. So what are the clubs going to do? What are the policies that need to be in place? Are you going to allow a member to just start riding with the club with a bike that rides that fast regardless of the experience level of the cyclist? I think the clubs are gonna have to address this. I think you have going to have to have standards. Maybe have e-bike rides.  Maybe have some understanding of when and where they use those e-bikes and what speeds they operate at. I know some clubs had started doing that prior to the new statute went into effect, and I think it's definitely something that club leadership needs to think about and consider.

Another issue is, you know, e-bikes are considered motorized vehicles for the purposes of the new SUN Trail network. Remember, the legislature gave FDOT money to complete the SUN Trail network in Florida, but that money comes with strings attached that it is for non- motorized use.  So when you have some of these trails that are built with that SUN Trail money or SUN money, that comes with a stipulation that is non-motorized. There are some places where it won't be apparent necessarily that you're on one of those trails. That you have to make sure before you show up with an e-bike whether you can use the e-bike on that trail. Particularly whether you're going to go 28 miles per hour on a trail where most people are expecting you're not going to be going more than 20.

All of these kind of practical considerations that should concern all of us in the cycling community, and I think really from my perspective, the big issue is getting that type of bike. They weigh more. They have more mass. They're going faster. Put those into the hands of an inexperienced kid, inexperienced rider in general. A person who is not accustomed to how quickly things can occur at that speed, whether it involves another vehicle or a rider, and there's a prescription for potential disaster to occur. So I just think we all need to really be thoughtful about this and understand what our response is going to be. Where should these be restricted, and should there be some written protocol, particularly at the club level on how they can be used and where they can be used? I know some clubs are creating e-bike rides just for the e-bikes and believe me, I'm an e-bikes supporter. I love them. I've always wondered myself why I've talked about buying one with my wife and it's like, the reaction is, you know, that one extra bike you need. Like, that's the reaction. So why do you need an e-bike? I think they're a great. I think they'd be a great thing to ride in a lot of circumstances. It's not going to replace my bike riding generally, my weekly rides, but I think they'd be a great to bomb around them.

So, this is some consideration. I hope that I generate some response. I'd love to hear from you about your view on the 28 mile per hour e-bike. Where do they belong? Are they a good idea? What are your concerns about them and who do you address those concerns to? Let's just talk about it. Let's get a conversation going.

I'm Jim Dodson and The Florida Bike Guy. I represent cyclists. I help cyclists. I'm in your corner if you're a cyclist, whether in my local area or wherever you are in the state whether you've been injured in a bike crash or as a passenger in the vehicle. So if I can be of help to you, reach out to me. I hope you enjoyed the program today. Enjoy the weekend. Take care. Bye.

 

Jim Dodson
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A Florida injury lawyer, family man and avid cyclist who clients have trusted for over 25 years.